She can’t be more than two years old. Her clothes are bright pink. Her hair’s a mess and her eyes are filled with longing. She’s looking at me from a few feet away and I notice how close she is to the edge. The danger so close never crosses her mind. Suddenly the ground begins to give way, as the edge of the overhang breaks apart. I jump with an outstretched arm hoping to catch her but I’m too late. From the edge I can see her falling deeper and deeper into the darkness, the longing in her eyes never fading.
I opened my eyes to darkness and slowly put the pieces together. I’m in my
sleeping bag with people around me breathing heavily as they sleep. I’m in a mountain village and have been dreaming. I’ve just spent the better part of the last day with a bunch of children. Finally it all comes back but what does the dream mean? In this Muslim country in North Africa there are probably thousands of villages similar to the one I stayed in. They’re very small and many of them very remote. To get to this village we had to travel for two hours from a smaller city by taxi. The second half of the trip was through mountain switchbacks on a dirt road not much bigger than the taxi. Often times you could see straight down over the cliff simply by looking out the window. Many places are even more remote than this though. Within these thousands of villages there are tens of thousands of children, probably more.
In the city where I live the majority of the population has never heard the
Gospel, however, there are local and foreign believers here. In the small places there may be no one in the village who has ever heard the Gospel. No one has ever prayed for these people specifically. No one may have ever traveled there who knows Jesus. As I spent time with the children of the village I was in it was impossible not to notice their desire for attention. The older girls were singing and dancing to get your attention. The boys wanted you to see what they had done and praise them for it. The little girls wanted to be held and swung around in your arms. Their faces were filled with longing.
What happens when no one ever tells them how to fill their longing hearts
though? We spent a few hours with them and tried to love on them as much as possible. Even that was not enough to remove the longing. The truth is that only Jesus can fill those empty places in their hearts and in ours. Who will tell them though? Who will reach out to the thousands of village children in this country and their parents and families? I felt convicted by the dream I had. Most of the people here are standing very close to the edge and they don’t even realize it. Instead of always moving toward them to pull them away I am often caught standing and watching. Forgive me, Lord. When the edge gives way and they fall I’m not going to be able to catch them. I hope that the faces of these children remain etched in my mind for a long time. Each of them is precious in God’s sight. Unfortunately, many of them may never have the opportunity to even hear about the love of Christ, to know how precious they are. They may slip away into the darkness without ever knowing where to find eternal hope.
Consider going to North Africa to be a messenger of truth. Begin to research missions trips. Countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen, Jordan and Mauritania are in urgent need of Christian missionaries who will bring the Good News. Will you be one of them?